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Development of an Integrated Risk Model for Foodborne Zoonotic Parasites in Swine

Dubey, Jitender; Urban, Joseph; Hill, Dolores
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
Start date
End date
  1. Develop an integrated risk model for Toxoplasma in the U.S. pork industry.
  2. Assess the role of chickens in the risk of human exposure to Toxoplasma.
  3. Develop improved serological detection assays for Toxoplasma in humans and chickens.
  4. Support on-farm certification and export marketing efforts for Trichinella as requested by USDA regulatory agencies.
  5. Continue to support the AMS analyst training program for detection of Trichinella in pork and horsemeat.
More information
Though previous studies have identified characteristics of high risk management systems, medium and low risk systems have not been completely characterized. We will identify those management systems and strategies that reduce or eliminate Toxoplasma from swine herds on the farm, and develop a comprehensive risk model for the swine industry. Though pork has been identified as a potential source of human infection for Toxoplasma, recent studies suggest that chicken may also be a risk for human transmission. We will analyze Toxoplasma prevalence in chickens raised in different management systems and develop practical interventions for reducing risk of exposure.

Until recently, differentiation of foodborne versus oocyst transmission of Toxoplasma to humans was impossible. Identification of stage specific antigens from oocysts have made the development of a validated serological assay possible. We will use these antigens to develop diagnostic methods to determine the most common transmission route of Toxoplasma in humans.

The U.S. export market for pork and horsemeat is dependent upon industry compliance with the testing requirements of importing countries. The need for international validation, standardization, and other quality control requirements for digestion- based Trichinella testing is critical as countries compete for export markets. We will collaborate with trading partners and international food safety organizations to harmonize testing procedures for Trichinella in meat products destined for export.

Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
Project number
Accession number
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Education and Training
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Meat, Poultry, Game